Freedom Foundation

Unions Critical Of Proposal To Suspend Public Sector Dues

Originally Posted on Gongwer News

One group has an idea to pump tens of millions of dollars into the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s not sitting well with the organizations that would be most affected.

In a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine, the Freedom Foundation called on him to place a three month moratorium on public sector union dues.

The group claims that would pump $61 million back into Ohio’s struggling economy that has largely shuttered because of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The organization painted it as an economic stimulus at no cost to Ohio taxpayers.

“Presently, tens of thousands of Ohioans are being forced to stay home from work. This includes huge swaths of our devoted public employees, most of whom are still fortunate enough to still be collecting a paycheck — short of the portion government unions continue to take for themselves. The private sector, however, is not so lucky,” Lindsey Queen, state director of the organization, wrote in the letter.

“As you are well aware, small businesses across our state are being forced to close their doors, unsure when — or if — they will be able to open them again. This means temporary furloughs, semi-permanent or permanent layoffs and a skyrocketing number of new unemployment filings.”

But public sector unions blasted the recommendation.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper accused the group of “trying to grab a headline” during the crisis to further its anti-union goals.

“They’re union busters who are looking for every opportunity to bust a union,” she said.

Ms. Cropper said unions have been “very active” during the pandemic in responding to their members’ needs.

Anthony Caldwell, director of public affairs at the Service Employees International Union District 1199, was even more pointed in his response.

He called the recommendation “disgusting” and said it comes from “a failed, out-of-state special interest group” looking to exploit a global pandemic.

“Hospital and home care workers, nurses, library workers, parole officers, educators, public employees and private-sector workers are united in our efforts to stop the spread of this virus and ensure that all working families are safe, healthy and able to thrive in our community,” Mr. Caldwell said. “In contrast, the Freedom Foundation is pushing an anti-worker agenda that’s out-of-step with Ohio values. They are funded by billionaires who want to destroy unions and elect candidates that will keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave, and slash crucial funding for quality public services.”

“Rather than trying to divide people, all of us must work together to ensure everyone has equal access to prevention, testing, treatment, and economic support regardless of how old they are, the color of their skin, where they were born, or how much money they make,” he added.